Growing tropicals where its not so tropical is the whole point of this blog, so allow me to share some plants that have defeated the odds by surviving not one, but two record breaking winters in a row!
I don't care what anyone tells you about "playing it safe" by growing plants in your zone, nature has a way of surprising you by its (perhaps not so surprising) will to live. Today I'll show you some neat recovery photos but first, here are some shots from the courtyard garden featuring plants that are a bit more cold tolerant and only look tropical.
Overwintered outdoors through numerous hard freezes...
Paurotis Palm - Earlier in the year I pulled the spears out of all of the paurotis palm trunks, which led me to believe that they were dead. Nope! The same trunks are now pushing out multiple fronds in a frenzy. Native, freeze tolerant and flood tolerant, Everglades palm is just about my favorite palm tree.
Monstera Deliciosa - Here are some new leaves on the monstera deliciosa! Apparently I'll have this one in the garden for years to come, since its taken two very cold winters and flooding last summer. I expect to see the characteristic "swiss cheese" leaves in a month or so at the rate its going.
Neoregelia Pauciflora - I moved my neoregelia pauciflora to the base of the live oak so that they'll grow up the trunk. If you look closely, both rosettes are shooting out long stolons already, even though they haven't flowered yet. I did cover these in winter, but they showed absolutely no damage so I figure they're at least worth a shot. Neoregelia pauciflora is so prolific that they should recover from another black winter in no time. To the left and right are super spiky quesnelia arvensis. (A little late to bloom this year...)
Ficus Decora - Even ficus decora, or rubber plant is coming back from the roots! This really makes me want to try strangler fig, if only I could find one for sale.
There are other tropicals that made it of course, and this is only a small sampling of the many I risked it with. A couple of plants didn't make it, but the way I see it, I only used the money that most gardeners spend on annuals. At least tropicals have a chance of making it through to next year, so zone 9 gardeners, why not be adventurous and plant that ficus outside in a shady spot instead of tossing it in the trash?